The Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the Medicines Transparency Alliance (META) Philippines, today convened Mindanao-based patient groups for the 10th Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare (UHC) and Access to Medicines in Zamboanga City.

The forum touched on DOH health policy issues to get input and invite patients’ perspective for more sustainable outcomes, and provided information on current flagship programs.

It covered a range of topics on drug pricing, rational use of medicines, and access to medicines such as FOURmula 1+ Botika ng Bayan, Maximum Drug Retail Price, Health Technology Assessment – Philippine National Formulary System. It also covered DOH health programs such as the Antimicrobial Resistance Control Program, National Integrated Cancer Control Act, Mental Health Act, Rare Disease Act, and existing DOH platforms for patient engagement.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III emphasized that it was through the active participation and engagement of all relevant sectors, particularly patient groups, that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act and the UHC Act were signed.

“Gathering all important players and stakeholders with the goal of improving the lives of Filipinos through Universal Health Care is a milestone in itself, the DOH is counting on every group’s support to make UHC a success,” Duque said.

According to the Secretary, the DOH aims to strengthen its partnerships with patient organizations to support existing DOH programs as well as its ongoing reforms to improve access to healthcare and essential medicines.

“The success of UHC lies in the inclusivity of all our efforts, after all health is everybody’s business.  Let us work together, to make UHC work,” the Health Chief concluded.